Sunday, November 9, 2008

Family of Christ

Today I visited Destiny's church for an english assignment.
It was a Lutheran Church called Family of Christ.
I've never been to a Lutheran church before, and it really was different than what I was used to.

For English, I have to observe a subculture and write about my observations... what the group values, what traditions and routines it upholds, what its purposes are, how they communicate as a groupe, etc.
This is a great assignment, but in it I'm not allowed to show any real bias. So I'd like to take the opportunity to talk about things I thought about when I watched/participated in the service.

-- First off, there was a lot of prayer recitation.
There was this one prayer everyone said that basically said, "I am not worthy. I confess my sins. God please forgive me." That sort of puzzled me. What if people weren't ready to confess their sins? Would they just not stand up and say the prayer? How embarrassing would that be? I personally feel like confessing your sins isn't something that should be loud and bold like that. Something so obvious that it can't really help the people who need it.
Furthermore, I didn't like the idea of reciting a prayer already written like that. Mormons have very few memorized prayers. And none of them are recited by entire congretations. They're more for the ordaining of covenants. I don't think that people should have to say exact word-for-word prayers in order to talk to God. It's impersonal and people oftentimes don't really feel the words they're saying. I believe that Christ taught us that we shouldn't say plastic prayers. We should talk to God as if we are talking to a best friend, a father, our creator. He knows us, so I think we should talk about ourselves and our own relationship with God. No one can dictate what that relationship is and how it should be. Instead of reciting prayers, we take the sacrament with a sincere heart. We don't need to say anything. We simply partake of the bread and water and remember Christ and what he's done for us. It's a much more subtle and reverent way to show submissiveness and humility.

-- The music in the service was very different. There was not only a piano, but there was an electric keyboard and two guitars. The music we sang itself was upbeat, syncopated, and had very modern-sounding lyrics. While these songs were rejuvenating and fun, they kind of broke the spirit I felt during the sermon. I don't think guitars and pop music belong in a service of worship. It's like bringing the world into God's house. Reverent music can be happy -- even fun -- while not breaking the spirit.

-- What I DID like about the church there was that there was such an emphasis on service and brotherhood. They do so much to serve people! Feed My Starving Children, Mission Trips, fundraisers, so much service! They also prayed for those who were less fortunate, and there were times during the service where we would shake hands with each other and say "peace be with you." I liked that. I didn't like the formality of it, but I liked the message that sent. We should be kinder to our fellow men. We should serve each other. Because if we serve each other, we serve God. And isn't our purpose in coming here to prove that we are willing to serve God? I'll think about this when I associate with those around me from now on.

In general, it was an eye-opening and interesting experience. I'm excited to go next week and take more notes.

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